In the US alone, 54 million people live with disabilities, of those, around 36 million report having a measurable degree of hearing loss. This makes them the single largest disability group, equaling one out of five adult Americans (17%).
Providing access to assistive listening systems is not only the law, but it’s the right thing to do. It helps people feel connected to their communities and live fuller, richer lives.
Although hearing loss is the largest disability covered under the ADA, it is often an unknown and under-served disability group. Everyone knows someone with hearing loss, yet if you ask people what accommodations are made, they often have no idea that assistive listening accommodations are required.
One misunderstood aspect of hearing loss is that while hearing aids are great, they do not work in every situation. Hearing aids work great in a quiet environment, but in places with a lot of ambient noise, an assistive listening system is needed to block out unwanted sound and deliver sound directly to people’s ears. People with hearing loss need more signal than noise- it isn’t helpful if sound is just louder.